Major studies

Advanced major studies 60 cr

Thesis 30 cr

Elective studies 30 cr

Aims of the Master of Arts (Art and Design) degree

The aim of the degree is to provide students with:

  1. good theoretical and general knowledge of as well as artistic and practical expertise in their field of study as well as a general knowledge of the field of arts;
  2. knowledge and skills needed for independent and demanding artistic work and for multidisciplinary collaboration as well as knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific knowledge and scientific methods;
  3. knowledge and skills to perform, both independently and collaboratively, demanding expert, development and management duties of the field, and to cooperate internationally;
  4. knowledge and skills needed for education leading to a Doctor of Arts (Art and Design) degree and for lifelong learning;
  5. good language and communication skills for work in the field of arts and for international operations and cooperation.

The education shall be based on scientific research and artistic activity and professional practices in the field.

Learning Outcomes of the Master's Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education

Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) educates professionals, practitioners and researchers on contemporary art and education, working with different audiences and communities, digital communication, and visual studies. The main objective of NoVA is to achieve knowledge and skills of the best Nordic values, research, and practices in art education and visual studies. NoVA provides relevant competences and pedagogical interaction skills for working in cross-cultural and international educational and communication environments, or for continuing research at the doctoral level.

Through courses on visual culture, social theory, pedagogy, research competences, for example, students investigate seeing and being seen. NoVA students explore how digital technologies affect perception and how vision is constructed. Students research visual events to understand the relationship between institutions, the media, society, and the economic sphere. Thus the NoVA programme provides students with opportunities to critically reflect upon and synthesize previous experiences and knowledge as well as generate new knowledge on contemporary art and education, digital communication, and visual studies.

NoVA pushes geographical, pedagogical, and research boundaries through its network of international partners, diverse experiences, and research topics and methods. The program is committed understanding and teaching the best of Nordic art education practices while responding to learners from around the world, and addressing global challenges and possibilities.­­­

Content Outcomes:
  • Students understand a broad range of issues, theories, and practices of Nordic art education and visual studies
  • Students understand practices and traditions of cross-cultural and international education
  • Students understand the interrelationship of social and cultural issues, curriculum content, philosophies of teaching, and the construction of democratic spaces of learning
  • Students understand the geo-political and pedagogical dimensions of space, place, the public sphere, and private realms
Skill Outcomes:
  • Students are able to analyse, interpret, and respond to images, objects, and sites in everyday life through theories of visual culture
  • Students are able to connect art and visual image making and the interpretation of visual culture to issues of power and representation, for advancing pedagogy
  • Students are able to use digital technology for contemporary art pedagogy
  • Students are able to produce layered, interactive, and dynamic visual work, in different formats and media
  • Students are able to develop plans, carry out in practice, and document independent practical projects
Academic Skills:
  • Students can apply pedagogical interaction skills in cross-cultural and international educational situations and environments
  • Students can apply methods of contemporary art pedagogy
  • Students know a variety of research methodologies and are able to investigate, develop, and implement cutting edge research in art education
  • Students can apply skills of intercultural and social entrepreneurship
  • Students can participate in international discussions and research

Content of the studies

NoVA students engage in a variety of learning and teaching methods, including in-person, on-line, and whole group pedagogy, at home and host universities (during possible exchange studies), and at retreats and Nordic seminars. Learning by doing and problem-oriented approaches are integrated with practical and theoretical e-learning based activities. Contact teaching is a combination of lectures, seminars, peer working and student presentations, using multimodal approaches: texts, images, audio, and different physical and digital interfaces and communication.

Focus areas of the studies:

Visual culture developed in the Nordic region

This incorporates exploring creative and critical approaches to design and art making, coupled with a deep responsibility for openness, caring, and equality.

Critical pedagogy with social and cultural awareness

This stems from aspects of the highly valued Nordic education systems, emphasising democratic societies, egalitarianism, socially just pedagogical skills and practices, human rights and social and cultural sustainability.

Digital technologies in learning

Social and cultural competences in ICT & online communication are included to the programme as content and as pedagogical methods.

Contemporary art education

This includes project and problem oriented teaching, and collaborative and participatory based learning based on contemporary methods, and theories of art, pedagogy, and mediation.

Project management and administration

Engaging with communities, institutions and productions provide practical experience in project management, administration, entrepreneurship and finance of cultural and educational initiatives.


Studying in another Nordic university for one or two semesters is recommended. Alternatively, domestic or Nordic internship is a valuable study-option that provides students with hands-on experience in Nordic work-life in the field of art education. The current NoVA programme was developed in collaboration with three Nordic universities: Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland, Aalborg University, Department of Communication and Psychology, Denmark and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Sweden.

Each university has significant experience and capacity with art and/or media education at the national level. Competences between and among institutions offer a broad range of areas of study, including critical pedagogy and social and cultural awareness; contemporary art education, digital technology, and ICT; project oriented, collaborative, problem-based, and participatory-based work; sustainable development; intercultural and social entrepreneurship; and double perspective-combining theory and practice. NoVA international members cooperate in teaching, and by organizing seminars and study trips.